Wednesday, November 26, 2008


finds me doing this all day,

what more could a girl ask for?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the making of me {chapter 7}

to escort me to our new abode, he drove along prospect street. it nabbed up all of the bits and pieces of the most beautiful parts of town. driving thru the undergrad campus and the beauty of the architecture, up the hill to the business buildings on to the school of forestry and then past Bet's house and the divinity school.

We pulled up to the sign that said "whitehall" graduate student housing.

pulled into the parking lot and into our parking slot. walked past the fence bordering "foote" school, the private school i would be looking at for the next 2 years. up the steps, thru the outside door and to the left. right to our door. oh, i was thrilled, OUR door, OUR doorbell. upon entering the kitchen i instantly designated the space a one bum kitchen, a hallway really. thru the rest of the house he took me. 2 bedrooms, wow! i wasn't thrilled but i wasn't devastated. it felt tolerable. we got to work bedding down for the night in our separate rooms only to discover the misery a night filled with humidity offered. within minutes, we were all on the queen blow up mattress under the one and only window cooling unit s.mac had installed the night before. oh, the torture. wet, hot and miserable.

looking back, it was really quite funny. i felt like i had been dropped off in another country. everything was so foreign to me.

within 48 hours of our arrival we had been greeted by a fresh loaf of bread, a welcome packet from the LDS church and the discovery of the routine in this city. it did indeed have rhythm, rhyme and reason.

walkers and joggers all over, IPODS everywhere and oh, the busyness of this town. everything right at our fingertips within walking distance. shops, restaurants boasting every cultural pleasure our tongues could imagine, people from every walk and country of this vast great world.

my first and foremost important task?
a grocery store. yes indeed. i had already googled WalMart and saw there was one right up the way from us. we made that one of our first stops, only to discover it was not a super center. it was devastated. we couldn't afford to shop at a regular grocery store, no way was $30 a week going to feed us at a regular grocery store. the local wal mart did offer some canned goods and other varieties that would get us by. i went home and immediately googled super center walmart connecticut. 4, in the ENTIRE state. what was wrong with these people, hadn't they heard wal mart had run for office and had been elected as rulers of the world? behind the times these people were.

s.mac had spied a "stop and shop" on dixwell avenue right by his barber shop. he gave me the directions, offering to watch the kids and off i went. it was old, decrepit and run down. when i entered i had my first experience of being the only white person in the vicinity. i decided every culture is the same in their need to love and be loved. all the black people in that store knew each other. there was singing in the isles and hugging and reuniting all around me. strangely reassuring to me. what wasn't reassuring to me were the prices. getting the things off my very stringent list and adding the prices on my calculator were putting me into a coma mode. $71.00 my total came too.

i came home with my brain turning on how we were going to survive these 2 years. no way on this green earth could i spend $71.00 a week. no way. milk was almost $5 a gallon and bread was sky high and processed into oblivion. i needed to find the secrets to more provident living for sure. i came home with a determined attitude to beat high grocery store prices and find a routine that would allow fresh food on a tight budget.

unpacking, rearranging furniture over and over again. and, a call home. help, i don't know if i'm up to it dad.......everything is so old in this town, plus their grass is dead and ugly. we haven't seen a sprinkler system yet. dead, ugly and dirty. plus, it seems lonely here. then.....

we went to our first sabbath worship at the parish house for the center church on the green.....

Monday, November 24, 2008


sometimes things work out so well, something about the phrase "he knows every hair on your head" comes to mind.


the day i complained, we got an offer on the condo and it solidified saturday morning -
we are under contract hopefully closing december 17.

there are miracles in this housing market and i am grateful "he" knows us and our silly worries.....

{thanks for all of your kind comments, private emails and sweet notes, sniff, sniff}

*hopefully* digging January 15, 2009!

Friday, November 21, 2008

the making of me {chapter 6}

as i looked at s.mac he looked different. i couldn't quite put my finger on it. i was all covered in poop and oreos and felt suddenly sticky, everywhere, sticky.

man, what is with this airport, i thought, do they have misters or what.

that was my first taste of what we call HUMIDITY, folks. my dry rocky mountain skin and lifelong bloody noses had never experienced such a concept. and my hair, instantly my naturally wavy hair was set free, singing some sort of wild tune. and my make up. i was trying to keep up with it dripping off my face. s.mac thought i was tearing from the sight of his red head, but no, i was dripping maybelline, cover girl and other various assortments as a welcoming act.

then. we kissed. and i felt happy.

and i could see, "oh honey. what have you done to your hair?"

s.mac sheepishly looked at me and replied, "well, i was driving one night trying to find a great clips or a barber shop of some kind. i found this one on dixwell avenue, right by our house. it said 'barbershop' right on it. so i walked in and they said it was going to be $10.00, so i took a seat and let him cut away."

"the weird thing was," he continued, "i was the only white guy in there. the guy was asking me questions about school and i told him where i was going. he acted pretty shocked. i thought it was really weird considering the university had been in the town for over 300 years. so, he told me he was going to give me a nice haircut for the first day of school."

of course, that was our first discovery of the fact that new haven is a most diverse town. yes, this would be the first of many times we were the only white people in a crowd. s.mac had walked right smack into the heart of the african american part of town and walked into a "brothas" barber shop. they had shaved him some bangs and given him a nice haircut for a "brotha". not for an irish redhead. so he got some hair art, his sideburns all artistically shaped and such.

i almost can't control the giggles as i think of him walking into his class the first day all shaved up.

my wee little mind hadn't even thought of the division of a town. but there were italian, asian, african america, turkish, latino, european, middle eastern and student. yes, that's how the cultures were divided there. if you were a student then there were subcultures. sometimes it went by perhaps the forestry school, the public health school or the school of medicine. i will just say, that was our first taste of culture. can you imagine all these folks watching this white kid go into a barber shop in the center of the hood. i bet that was the only white head they had cut since barber school, obviously by the haircut he received. we had never crossed a cultural line here at the foot of the rocky mountains. we didn't even think about different hair types needing different hair shops.

but what's good for one. for instance, a time it was appropriate for a white kid to cross cultural barriers was when our home teacher and fellow neighbor, shane l., happened upon the oriental hair cutting station. yes, he had scored a home run. his hair was as thick as they come. he found his match with a sweet floor of orientals waiting to cut his thick, thick hair. it was right up their alley, and for $12.00 he got a cut and a head massage.

we drove home at sunset from the airport. i wasn't sure what to expect driving in new york city. i was thinking the plane would land right in the middle of manhattan and i would see the statue of liberty, empire state building and somehow be able to view the fallen remains of the twin towers. but i kept seeing alarming and decrepit buildings with people just sitting all around the porches and on the streets. kids running a muck and then my eyes lay hold of the street and exit signs claiming "bronx". oh mercy, i had heard of that before, yes. law and order and third watch often posed scenarios in those places. suddenly i felt uneasy and thought, what on earth have we done?

to my relief as we inched further out of new york state we drove past beautiful villages and quaint towns. once we hit connecticut i could see why martha could call it home. it was the most beautiful green, green everywhere. things growing over everywhere, the ocean right there, greeting me and inside my soul, something very peaceful came alive. that is when i first started to fall in love with an east coast ocean. the drive into connecticut had me falling deeper and deeper in love with grassy beaches, large ships at sea, port towns and every other romantic notion that comes with it.

also, apprehensive. very cautious.

s.mac pulled into new haven and i was wowed. i thought yale university would be in a fancy, manicured town. a very secluded and beautiful place.

it wasn't.

lots of transient people floating all over and around the most amazing architecture you have ever seen in america. buildings that looked straight from the 16th century with gothic and european influence, and transient people polluting everywhere. panhandling and such. wow. plus, it was pitch black. it was night time, although only 8 or so. i was shocked, i thought the sun stayed out late in the summer. i didn't take into account it might be different in another part of the country.

we were hungry. we didn't really know where a grocery store was or a food place. we stumbled on a pop's pizza place on howe street. looking back, it was a scary place. the parking was weird too. no places to park, anywhere. and the streets, tiny itty bitty. there were crazy drivers everywhere. at the point when s.mac came out of the pizza joint with a couple of slices i felt very, very far away from home. yes, indeed. we weren't in kansas anymore todo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the reality...

of our economy.

is making it impossible for us.

and it's getting me down you know. housing has been the biggest pain in our side for 2 years now! it hasn't gotten any easier. we think we know what we are supposed to do and then it all falls and i have to wonder if it is a sign we shouldn't build or a reason to work harder.

we have been working on a constuction loan for months now and it is just not working, period.
the plans are done the hole was ready to dig and now it all falls apart with the new regulations on a construction loan. last night our mortgage lady showed us that we were qualified for a conventional loan with the building price but we couldn't qualify for a construction loan, go figure.

so, the lack of blogging is due to our housing turmoil and the weight of what the heck we are going to do.......

Monday, November 10, 2008

the making of me {chapter 5}

s.mac did his time in an unfun, get thru school job. he worked 4 years of weekends, holidays and grunt grunt grunt. "bottom of the totum pole" was something i was so glad to check off of the "crappy parts" of life list. we were however, grateful for the means it provided us, insurance and money. the basic necessities of newlywed bliss.

his program was unique in that most of yale's programs start at the same time and have regular breaks and vacations. not the pa program. no, high speed, hold onto your panties folks, we're going for a ride pa program. so, s.mac had accumulated enough time off that we had a whole week of paid vacation. utilizing our resources the best we could, he worked until the day before we moved.

you know the intense energy i admitted to earlier? this would be the time it is called a "fault". i had only anticipated needing him there to load up the uhaul. i could surely handle the rest.
and then the day came and i realized my stupidity....

i needed him for more than one day to pack up. both our families were on vacations and i had 2 babies, HELLO! not exhibiting my "complete happy meal skills" with this move. i flew in on a thursday and he started school on a monday. but honestly, those 3 days were the most he had had off in years so we thought it was fun.

*the journeying to the great ghetto.

the drive out. s.mac's part.

we had a kafauffle, hmm, a mishap really. and although s.mac's dad had planned on driving with him, his dad had just flown in from a guided tour as the "tour guide" in the middle of the night the day the journey had been planned for. for various reasons we decided the jet lag and the inconvenience couldn't give us a clear conscience. we turned to who we turn to when we need dependability. my mountain man brother. i think he had a few hours notice before he was driving our uhaul out of the driveway, all with a smile on his face. the plan was to rest every so many hours, catching sleep at random motels along the way. after a full days driving, s.mac told mountain man he was going to sleep a bit and for mountain man to pull over at the next motel he saw. that was the plan.

s.mac woke up 7 hours later in the middle of nebraska to hear mountain man say, "dude, it's your turn to drive, i need some zzzz's."

the animal had driven thru the night. that set the precedent. they drove there in 48 hours, STRAIGHT, as in their cheeks only lifted for soda and corn dogs. they got to the ghetto, unloaded in 2 hours. with that mountain man was on a flight back, with little sleep on his side, to the rocky mountains to help me.

sniff, sniff, i love him.

we had high hopes his airline privileges would get him on the flight with me and my bambinos. i was a mess thinking i would be navigating all by myself with the wee babes. not to mention. bud"e" had a horrid case of the, how can i explain? clogged plumbing, restricted colon, the no pass gas zone, the baby was horribly plugged. i had given him large doses of relief in a spoon with no end in sight. as i boarded, mountain man gave me the look like, {i can't get on the plane sister, it is all full.} it was the first time on our journey i had to use my inner strength. and somewhere i found it.......until we took off.

as the take off began i started unloading the entire king's store i had packed in cute little good mom bags for my kids. all organized and such. bud"e"'s face looked funny to me and the loud sounds of the take off lulled the little bugger to sleep. oh, pure relief, i thought. he's going to sleep the whole time. i had the thought that i knew the grandma's must have been saying extra prayers because this was an amazing situation. sleeping baby, "winds of love" is an awesome flying companion and only a few hours until we arrive to our new "home". perfect, absolutely perfect - that is, until i felt wetness all down the front of me.....

the take off had just started and the relief in the spoon had gone thru the internals of the baby boy sleeping in my arms. i could smell it, i could now see it and also now, unfortunately, feel it. i was not a stranger to situations like this. when my little sister was a toilet training toddler and i, a high fashionista teen, she peed all over me in the middle of a church service. yep, right in the middle of the speaker, pee, all over me and my fashionable jumper made of black corduroy. so, digging into my dirty coping skills, i remained calm until the fasten seat belt sign came off. it was at least 15 minutes into the flight after the leaking began.

i had to wake him, let me repeat, i had to wake him.(please insert wailing and gnashing of teeth here) i took all the wipes i owned and the little poopy "bud"e", with the little toddler, to the one person bathroom. it was a ghastly sight, i had no choice but to throw his pants away. away. away and down the endless airline garbage receptacle. he came out with a shirt on and i can only imagine what the folks thought of his mother. naked babies and oreos. did i mention i thought the best treat to pack for the kids were oreos? we walked off the plane half naked, covered in oreos from head to toe. a beautiful vacationing family from alpine, UT took pitty on me and helped me navigate JFK and also let me call my s.mac on their cell phone. they saved my life and i had never, ever been so glad to see the red head in all my life.....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Small Enough - Mindy Gledhill

this made my worship a little better today......

Saturday, November 8, 2008

*wedding bells*

happy nuptuals mountain man brother,

be sure to take lots of pictures!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

holiday shopping...

i am up to my ears in the holiday budget, lists and ideas.

i always try to get this all done before halloween, but this year i have been so busy with house plans, the financing process and putting our condo up for sale (again) that i haven't had much time.

i am a big believer in cyber shopping for the holidays as you find more variety and you don't get sucked into the wal mart trap.

i was talking with a friend the other day about what lines to draw with christmas gift giving. i like to make sure i am not giving just to give. i like to think about each person i give to and what they would like.

with our kids we have santa bring them one big gift.
{they think about it all year. it is something that has to be durable and that they really, really want. that way it becomes an investment instead of something for charity after a few weeks.}

scott hated in years past that we weren't "giving" them a gift just from us. so, we decided to do the three wiseman concept. they get three gifts from mom and dad.

"winds of love" has caught on that she only gets 4 presents and was disgruntled this year. i told her that the baby jesus got three presents for christmas and he didn't even get a santa gift. i told her getting too many gifts makes us forget why we celebrate christmas. she was really good with it. i think she saw that she could fit everything on her list and it was stuff she was really excited about. her and bud "e" have both had to eliminate and re prioritize what they want several times. i am really pleased with it and hope it doesn't warrant therapy in years to come. i told "winds of love" if we had a million dollars this is how we would do it.

how do you gift?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i've stewed and stewed all day long....

how i don't want to offend.

so i link you to my friend todd, have i ever told you that his level of genius is among the top percentage of the country? {sorry, todd, don't mean to embarrass you, but there has to be some credibility here}

click here

because sometimes it's okay to let others know how you feel, he did it with great humor and without too much life altering emotion. and when both candidates are who they are, that is how you have to approach it. i loved clicking on each link he tied to each point.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

the making of me {chapter 4}

i started packing up. we didn't have much. a few months previous we had purchased our first bit of furniture. our couches took a long, long time to be able to pay cash for. they have seen us through a lot of love. we also had a crib, a hand me down bed for "winds of love" that saw many mckay boys and some cousins thru, a beautiful kitchen table we worked hard for and a couple of odds and ends.

it was a very emotional process. i had 2 brothers leave on missions at the same time we were leaving and it felt like the family dynamics were all over the place. lots of change. i looked on the internet for everything i could find about new haven, CT. i used the idea of moving as a very romantic notion. pick up and leave, start fresh and new. yes, this was going to be nice. although i am sure i cannot understand what a missionary feels like, i had the ominous feeling of a looming countdown always at the back of my mind. 2 more sundays, 1 more date night with being able to leave our kids and go somewhere because after all, we will know NO ONE. at what point do you say, okay, i hand my children's life over to you for an hour? one week, one warm fuzzy, one background check? where's the rule book here.....

one other thing that thrilled me to very high levels was the thought of having our own place with windows. for four years we had the amazing blessing of being able to live in scott's grandma's basement. it was new, roomy and so beautiful! she didn't charge us rent, which made it possible for us to survive on nothing annually. we had the most amazing benefit of being able to get to know and love her in such a private way. i love her like my own grandma, she is so special to me. the only downfall was that the windows it had were not able to let light in too well. i couldn't see what the weather was like unless i walked up the stairs. being at home most everyday with no husband to break up the monotony got really depressing for me. i love being a homemaker and being in with the kids but i do need to see birds flitting from tree to tree, see the seasons make way for another and see the beautiful sun! so, the thought of having windows with a view, mercy, my heart still flutters. in fact, on our housing application i marked the spot to put us where there was one extra window.

we laid out the logistics of it. s.mac drives across the country with a uhaul and a willing family member and h.mac flies with 2 babies alone to meet him. yes, that is how we will do it. we reserved the uhaul, s.mac's dad volunteered to drive 2400 miles with him and i bought my plane tickets, one way from the rocky mountains to JFK airport, 80 miles from New Haven.

we had lots of tender mercies extended to us before leaving and one in particular was a very sweet one that benefited me beyond measure.

we were moving in late july. before we left, we went to our last community 4th of july celebration. it was a bitter sweet one, it is my favorite holiday. as we were leaving i ran into an old high school friend. we always had a unique bond because we dated the same boy but at different times. so, i think there was always some weird connection, plus, we had known each other since junior high sharing various classes. of course we lost touch after high school, running into one another at the grocery store here and there.

as we finished our conversation that day, we left with a promise that we would get together before i moved. somehow, the call was made and we got together at the golden arches. our kids were the same ages and played brilliantly. she had just had twins and my bud"e" was the same age as the twins. we talked and talked and talked and something just clicked. it was a tender mercy that brings tears to my eyes as i type. we needed one another. i just plain didn't have friends at this point. too busy, too stressed and life was too fast. somehow during the course of these few weeks there was a bond stemming from a deep need in the both of us that proved to flow as smooth as water. we got to go out to dinner right before i left, a first for both of us in a long time. i had a gift certificate for a local fav and that was good because we were both broke as a joke. no, even more broke than that......

the evening was spent relating similar "new to the realities of life" {aka the first 5 years of marriage} experiences. i felt so validated and so normal after talking. something in me came alive with a friend on my side.

we left with promises to call.

and she did, right after i got there to make sure i got there okay. she asked if i had cried yet and i told her, "no, but it was bad and i just might."

and the truth be told, i was a little teary that night thinking of how sweet it was she had called. and she kept calling, once a week for 2 years, it was the highlight of my week....

Monday, November 3, 2008

shopping for the holidays.....

last night on my cyber browsings for the jolly holiday, i came across this beauty, click here

i am in love with a picture on canvas, no frame

this past spring i signed up for one of kat's shoots, you can see her here

i had been wanting to get some canvas's made of their lovely faces and was so glad i found an affordable option with the above mentioned place.

i love canvas. i love that you don't need a frame around it. it turns a family picture into art. this site lets you easily upload a picture and shows you exactly what it will look like on the canvas.
this is what ours looks like in our family room...